Saturday, January 16, 2010

"I Come From Lake Titicaca!"

OK, I know that you did not come to this blog to read about sports, but did anyone see the Hawks’ game on Friday? I finally went to a game this year, and it came down to Jamal Crawford’s (Go Blue!) buzzer beating 3-pointer. Hawks won 102-101 on a nationally televised ESPN game, beating a strong Phoenix Suns team. This team continues to make progress, and the people of Atlanta, for the most part, don’t seem to notice. For a game that good, there sure were a lot of open seats. Two years ago they forced a playoff Game 7 with the eventual champion Boston Celtics. Last year they got through the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat. We have a winning team who looks to go deeper in the playoffs this year, and everyone is still talking about the Falcons finally putting two back-to-back winning seasons together, even though they did not make the playoffs. Hey, I am a huge football fan myself, but I suggest you head down to Philips Arena one of these days and check out the Hawks. We had a blast last night. There’s a Taco Mac adjacent to the arena as well, so you can grab a couple good beers before the game.

So speaking of football, I came clean about my Cowboys disease last week. To my surprise I did not lose any followers to this blog following that confession. They played great last week, and it sure has been a long time since being a Cowboys fan felt this good. Next up is the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow afternoon. I think they have a solid chance of winning if they play like they have lately. The biggest factor working against them is that Brett Favre “magic”. If he has one of those games like he is capable of having, that could spell trouble. I mean, in 2003, a day after his dad died, he threw 4 touchdowns against a good Oakland Raiders team. In Oakland, on Monday night with the whole country watching. So I just hope that his porch didn’t collapse and kill one of his hound dogs this week, or that he doesn’t have to shoot one of his favorite tractors or something. I am not trying to say that Brett Favre is a hillbilly here, but if your image is too “folksy” for Levi’s so you hawk Wrangler jeans on TV, you might be a redneck. If you are a fabulously wealthy, future hall-of-fame NFL quarterback who has been to almost every major U.S. city, and your ideal place to settle down is in Mississippi, you might be a redneck. If you mispronounce your own last name, you might come from a long line of rednecks. If I were the Cowboys staff, I would be sprinkling Vicodin all over the Metrodome this week. Favre used to love that stuff. Just leave random bottles in the locker room and players’ entrance area and see if #4 doesn’t pick one up for old times’ sake. Let him get so goofed upon pain killers that he forgets what team he’s on. On second thought, he was pretty awesome when he was popping pills. I think he was Super Bowl MVP when he was washing Vicodin down with Budweiser 7 days a week. What an inspiration to today’s youth. See kids, if you do drugs, all of your dreams will come true. And if they don’t, you couldn’t really care less, because YOU ARE ON DRUGS! It’s a win-win situation. Luckily none of this really matters, because everyone knows that kids desperately want to do what you tell them not to do. And the authorities will take your kids away from you if you tell them that they should do drugs. So what is a youngster these days to do? A quandary like that sure makes a kid want to steal their parents’ liquor and go find some pot. There is one upside to this predicament however. Your kids are going to have a get a job to afford those drugs, so they will have to stop freeloading off of you. At least for their drug money.

The cask of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA that we tapped at Crabapple on Wednesday had a little surprise for us. It had the end of a muslin bag hanging out of the bung and a sticker on the cask that said “Local Hops”. We contacted the brewery to find out that the beer was dry-hopped with Cascade and Chinook hops grown in Maryland. The beer tasted great, and after doing my best McGyver-ing on the tap, we got everything working just fine. Great turn out too. (For those who may be confused, a muslin bag is basically a cheese cloth bag used to put hops into in order to add them to a cask. The bag keeps the loose hops from getting into the actual beer, but allowing the beer to come in contact with the hops. A bung is the plug that goes into the hole that a cask in filled through. That hole, ladies and gentlemen, is called the “bung hole”. So when Beavis is searching for “TP for my bung hole” in the legendary “The Great Cornholio” episode of Beavis & Butthead, he is speaking incorrectly. In fact, when anyone uses the term “bung hole” very rarely are the speaking of the hole in a keg that you fill it through. And yes, people who work at breweries snicker when they say “bung hole” as far as I have seen.)

Friday’s cask at Metropolis was a Rogue Mogul Madness dry-hopped with Amarillo hops. It was delicious. Holy hops Batman. If you missed it, we have another one to be tapped next month. This week’s cask at Metropolis is Left Hand Fade To Black Export Stout. If that did not just make your mouth water, then either you have not had LH FTB before, or you are dead. This beer is ridiculously good. Those guys know how to make dark beers. If you miss this one, you need to seriously consider your priorities. No excuses. I don’t care who dies, visits from out of town, or has a dance recital. These people in your life need to learn to work around your drinking calendar. Set the tone early. “I am sorry honey, but daddy has to go out drinking again. Have mommy take lots of pictures of whatever it is that I won’t be going to tonight. There is a strong chance that I might look at them some day. I hope that you don’t steal my liquor and go buy any pot while I am gone, but that is a chance that I am willing to take.” My friend Donald is going to come on this beer trip to England with me and 16 other people. He had to convince his wife that he can go on this trip without her--and it is not exactly cheap to fly to England and go drinking for a week. Oh, and we leave on Valentine’s Day. Do you think he pulled that off by having a stong reputation for “being there for her”? Hell no! He set the tone early that his drinking comes first. And that’s important for people to know. You need to let the world know, “I am selfish, and I like to drink a lot of beer. You are a part of my world, but you come second, maybe. I am not really sure where you fit in, but that is irrelevant at this point. You’re not first, so just understand that.” The best thing about giving people low expectations is that it is so easy to be impressive when you meet or exceed them.

Don’t forget about the Bell’s event at Metropolis on Tuesday (see multiple previous posts). There will be some excellent beers all over the place. Speaking of Michigan breweries, be on the lookout for some Founders beers out there. They just arrived in Atlanta last week. Those guys know how to make some great beer.

If you can find tickets, there is a really cool event at Sweetwater in the end of March. There are 75 invites for outside individuals to make their own special casks of beer. How those invites went out was up to the brewery. This week is the deadline for participants to submit their own personal ingredients to augment their choice of two base beers. You could pick from a huge list of hops, yeasts, herbs, coffee, spices, fruits, etc. Then in February the contestants go to the brewery to add their ingredients to their casks of beer. Once the beer is ready, the brewery will have a huge cask tasting/judging of all 75 different beers. That part is open to the public, if they have tickets. Taco Mac has 4 teams participating. Katy (from The Fred) and I just submitted our recipe for our team today. I am very excited about this event. Google “Brew Your Cask Off” and you will find the details about getting tickets. I can’t tell you what our recipe is at this point. Top secret. Matt (our corporate chef) has a team, Tim (Canton) & Donald (Metropolis) have a team, and Jason from Mall of GA has the 4th team. I want to give the guys at Sweetwater credit for coming up with this awesome idea. Hopefully this becomes one of Atlanta’s premier beer events for a long time. You should try to get a ticket.

That’s all for now readers. I hope that everyone has a great week. I will give you a peek at my England itinerary once it gets finalized. I promise to take lots of pictures.

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse
This is the top floor of the brewhouse, with buckets of fresh hops about to go into the kettles.